Links to All the games mentioned in this post:
For the first part of our digital narrative games assignment, we were tasked with playing 6 different digital narrative games. The games that I played were: Spent, BBC syrian journey, September 7th 2020, Fake it to make it, and Domestic Abuse.
In spent, we take the roll of an adult in America who is low on money and needs to survive for a month. I was surprised by the amount of choices and payments I had to make throughout the game and how skipping any of them would cause a butterfly effect that would affect me later on. The game also had me making choices about the happiness of my child, and whether to spend money on them or to save money for other payments I knew I would have to make. The game illuminated to me the struggles that people in lower economic brackets go through, and how difficult it is to actually breakout of the poverty cycle that they are in.
In the Syrian Journey, we are a migrant trying to take their family towards Italy and away from the civil war. In both attempts to play the game, I ended up drowning in the ocean. This game made clear to me the types of difficult choices that these migrants had to make to just attain basic human rights. While I did not previously think that it was easy by any means, I did not fully grasp the gravity of the choices they would make, and this game helped me understand that better
September 7th 2020
This game is about being a student in the covid context of today's society. The game introduced me to other challenges that students faced in the covid environment that I had not experienced myself, and helped illuminate to me more how people with disabilities and other prexisting conditions were affected by this pandemic.
Fake it To Make it
This game goes about educating players about how fake news is created and spread in a rather unique way and that is by letting you run your own fake news source. From this game, it was clear that positive articles, and anything that elicited positive emotions preformed way worse than articles that were negative and had negative emotions associated with them. The actual believabilty of the article did not matter, as if it stirred up enough drama it would still make me money, highlighting how the click/view based payment structure of these online resources contributes to the spreading of fake news
In this game you are a teenager at a party and are presented with choices in the party regarding alcohol and consent. This game adresses issues such as DUI' s and STD's by putting you in situations that could lead to these things. Personally, I felt the game was a bit heavy handed in the delivery of the message and as such it seemed less effective
This game tackles the idea of domestic violence, in the context of the Egyptian cultural paradigm. The game brings up how the patriarchal structure of our society makes it inherently difficult for women as victims of domestic abuse to come forward and deal with these issues. It also highlights how our culture of "familial honor" is also a barrier and works against victims of domestic violence as well.
Reflecting on the format of the games:
What all these games managed to do well was put the player in the shoes of a person who is experiencing these events, and thus causing the player to experience these events with increased empathy. Being introduced to this format of educating a person about certain topics through games, it has highlighted how effective they are at conveying their message.
The article "The Problem of Othering" by John Powel and Stephan Menendian brings forth the idea of othering, which they define as "a set of dynamics, processes, and structures that engender marginality and persistent inequality across any of the full range of human differences based on group identities." This definition to me manages to encompass and explain the idea of racial or religious based discrimination in a better way than the term racism does. It highlights how groups are not subjected simply through direct action, but through a system of systemic inequality and prejudice that can be both based in law or culture. It is not simply laws aimed at opression, but it is also other aspects that seem minor in comparison, such as language and mannerisms that are used when talking about certain groups. For example, in America, when a shooting or a violent act occurs that is preformed by a minority, such as middle easterns or African Americans, the terms that are used to describe these individuals would be "thugs" or "terrorists". This is in contrast to the "lone wolf" and "mentally ill" descriptors that are used when a Caucasian individual commits the same set of crimes. Othering in short is a system that contributes to creating a divide between cultural groups that is at the root of many social and cultural problems today.
The idea of othering is also a wide spread political tool that is used by many politicians to boost their own political polling. The article discusses the idea of how Donald Trump appealed to his audience through using idea of "white resentment" in a Jim Crow like manner, creating the image that minorities such as Mexicans and Muslims were an active danger to the security of the USA. By alienating these groups and excluding them, Trump successfully used othering as a poltical tool to boost his own standing as a politician. That is not to say that this tactic exists only in the US, as there are many other countries in the world where the idea of exclusion and othering to direct hate towards certain groups exists in spades.
The article goes on to discuss many other mechanisms by which othering occurs, however the one that stuck out to me was how the idea of unconscious bias comes into play with othering. The idea that humans categorize each other without actively thinking about doing has led me to reflect on how the idea of othering has come into play in my own life. Have I accidentally "othered" a specific person based on a certain group that they fell into, whether it be economic or social? Has it occurred to me as well without me noticing? I believe that everyone at some level most reflect on how their subconscious thought process might lend to the idea of othering without them even noticing
The Fall of 2020 semester was a fall in more ways than one, in both weather and GPA.
Songs I listened too during Fall 2020
Music was a very important part of Fall 2020 for me and helped me to get through the semester, feel free to comment which songs helped you survive fall 2020